The Strange, Soviet Sounds of the Russian Beatles

The Strange, Soviet Sounds of the Russian Beatles

Sunday March 12, 2017 Written by Smith

The Beatles

At their prime, The Beatles were so big that John Lennon famously declared the band was “bigger than Jesus”. He was widely criticised for the statement, but looking back it doesn’t seem that far-fetched. Case in point: in the 1970s, even the notoriously anti-Western Soviet Union begun singing their praises – quite literally.

After ignoring the Fab Four for a couple of decades, in 1976 the Soviet Union finally capitulated and broadcast a Russian-language version of “Let It Be” on state television. Sung by a cast of (to our modern Western eyes, at least) odd characters, “Bud' Kak Budet” preserved the consolatory tone of the original while giving the song a Marxist spin. Gone are the references to Mother Mary, as are any notions – however subtle – of individualism, all replaced by a call to collectivism.

To the Soviet Union’s credit, the propagandizing is subtle. Though we can’t help but feel like the song’s opening lines are a lot more defeatist than Paul McCartney intended when he penned the original:

Everything’s happened before in the world
People are always the same
That’s how it was, it is, and always will be.